Number of Venezuelans waiting to cross border drops
Ecuador’s requirement that Venezuelans entering Ecuador have passports could be having the desired effect. Throughout the day Monday, hundreds of Venezuelans waiting at the Rumichaca International Bridge, left the border crossing area, heading back into Colombia. Two large camping areas that had been filled with Venezuelans on Saturday and Sunday were largely abandoned and by dark on Monday, only 50 people remained.
“I don’t have a passport so I will stay in Colombia,” said one man who left with his wife. A woman leaving the border said she was unsure of her plans. “We will either stay in Colombia or cross the border some other place. I have family in Peru and need to rejoin them.” The Organization of American States estimates that only one in three Venezuelans attempting to enter Ecuador from Colombia have valid passports.
Ecuador’s interior ministry announced Monday that it is increasing the number of immigration agents at all border crossings into Ecuador and that the passport requirement would continue to be enforced.
Ecuadorian town honors North Korea’s Kim Jong-un
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been awarded honorary residency of Guaranda, capital of Bolivar Province. According to Mayor Ramssés Torres, the award recognizes Kim’s commitment to world peace.
The award was presented Saturday to a delegation of North Koreans visiting Guaranda and has sparked controversy throughout the country, with two newspapers editorializing that Ecuador should not be honoring “dictators.” The director of Guaranda’s Chamber of Tourism and the leader of the local taxi guild sent a letter to Torres criticizing the official action as “showing support for genocide and the suppression of human rights.”
Ombudsman goes to court to stop passport requirement
Ecuador’s Defensoría del Pueblo, or ombudsman, is going to court to force the interior ministry to reverse its order that Venezuelans entering Ecuador present a passport. The new requirement, announced last week, went into effect Saturday, denying entry to those who attempt to cross the border with only the national Venezuelan identify card. The rule applies only to Venezuelans.
A judge in the Quito Court for Family, Women, Children and Adolescents will hear the case on Friday.
According to the ombudsman’s office, the passport requirement violates Ecuador’s constitution which requires only the national card for entry of South Americans into Ecuador. “According to our constitution as well as to laws passed by the National Assembly, people are recognized as having the right to migrate with no human being being identified as ‘illegal’ due to their immigration status,” the Defensoría said in a statement.
Like the interior ministry, the Defensoría del Pueblo is part of the Ecuadorian government, charged with defending the rights of citizens.